What to Expect when Selling Your Home
We humans fear uncertainty. Isn’t that part of what makes selling a home so stressful? If only you could know when your house will sell, and that it will be sold for a good price. Sadly, nobody can promise that. The following guidelines, however, can make life a little easier by giving sellers an idea of how the process will unfold.
To Market, to Market…
The average home sold in July 2008 in Western North Carolina was on the market for 114 days*. That doesn’t include the period of escrow, which is explained below. Every seller should have a plan for a quick sale, an average sale, and a home sale that takes longer than four months.
Strangers in My House
Buyers have jobs, too, so many of them prefer to see properties in the evenings and on weekends. Sellers should make their homes available for showings between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days per week. Remember to lock up jewelry, money, prescription drugs, and other small valuables. Prescription drugs are the most common item stolen from homes for sale.
Feedback Is Your Friend
In WNC and many other regions, home showings are set up through a third-party appointment service that also tracks feedback from buyer agents. Sometimes, the feedback is not pleasant for sellers to read – after all, we each have a deep, personal connection to our homes. Be prepared to take the criticism, learn from it, and use it to make decisions that will help sell your home. Remember, it’s not personal.
Revisit the Strategy
Albert Einstein once defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” A home that receives no showings might need a new marketing strategy, better photos and descriptions on the MLS, or a price reduction. A home that receives many showings but no offers might need a price reduction or some physical improvements. Ultimately, only three things sell a house: location, price and condition. You have the power to change only two of those things.
Finally, an Offer!
Upon receiving an offer, take the time to review the entire document with your real estate agent, preferably in person. Make sure you understand all of the terms and conditions. Ask the agent to translate the legalese. A listing agent’s true role here is not to tell the seller how to respond, but to arm the seller with knowledge and negotiate on the seller’s behalf. Few offers come in exactly to the seller’s liking, but that’s what negotiating is all about. Again, don’t take it personally.
Once an offer is accepted and becomes a contract, a period of “due diligence” ensues. This allows the buyer to exam the property more thoroughly. At the same time, the buyer’s loan goes into escrow, as the lender researches the buyer and the home. During this period, sellers can expect visits from home inspectors, pest inspectors, radon inspectors, and a variety of other inspectors hired by the buyer. The bank will also send an appraiser, and maybe even a surveyor.
In the state of North Carolina, as well as most other states, the buyer has an opportunity to request the seller make certain repairs, pursuant to the home inspection and other inspections mentioned above. The seller has the right to refuse these repairs, of course, but such refusal could give the buyer an opportunity to leave the contract. Again, this is a period to seek counsel with your real estate agent and negotiate.
All of this leads up to the closing, the official meeting during which money and house keys change hands. Most homes in Asheville and the surrounding area close within 28-45 days of an accepted contract. Brokers will accompany both the buyers and sellers, and an attorney will preside over the brief affair. At this point, the sellers should be moved into a new home, celebrating the sale of their old home and the start of their new life!
* Source: Western North Carolina Regional MLS, which includes Buncombe, Madison, Haywood, Henderson and Transylvania counties.
About the Author - Mark Vanderhoff
Mark Vanderhoff is a real estate broker with Keller Williams Realty. He helps sellers stand out among the competition and helps buyers take advantage of the opportunities. He also devotes himself to consumer education through his writings in various publications and holds free first-time homebuyer seminars.
Mark offers buyer and seller consultations at no cost and no obligation. He is also a certified Environmental Consultant who specializes in green building.
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